By Chris Hopkins,
Senior Vice President for Aggregates and Mining, The Saint Consulting Group
Our first recommendation to any client is to not hold public meetings if at all possible. Our preference is to meet residents one to one and in as small of groups as possible.
Why? Because public meetings can go terribly wrong and the media that follows the meeting will be damaging. When meeting one on one, you can explain your benefits, your contributions and get reasonable people to see that this would be good for the community.
The story of a mine developer withdrawing a re-zoning application in Georgia is an example of what can go wrong if you try to get it done quickly and meet with a large group. It does not matter what your message is, it only takes a few individuals to get the crowd to turn against you and then the momentum only increases against you.
See The Saint Report post on how politics is the great unknown in permitting any land use. Mines, quarries or waste treatment plants — all developers for that matter — should do their homework first, proper political due diligence research to uncover community views on the issues and obstacles before taking an application forward.
Chris Hopkins is senior vice president for aggregates and mining, The Saint Consulting Group, email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 615-656-3794